Newcomers of the year | Pakistan Today

Newcomers of the year

As the professional tennis players take a breather from competitive play and gear up for a new season, let us reflect on some of the major highlights of the year that has passed. This week and the weeks that follow, I will be taking a look at the top 5 nominees for different categories, as a way to recall the best and the worst of 2012. Let’s start with those players, who broke out to make a lasting impact on the tour this year, either through a phenomenal one-off performance, a drastic jump in the ranks or an overall consistent season. Either way, they were able to announce their arrival on tour and raised plenty eyebrows in the process.
Martin Klizan
The 23 year old Slovak, having previously spent most of his time on the Challenger circuit, started the year at 117 in the world. In the space of just 2 months between March and May, Klizan made it to four Challenger Tour finals, winning three. It was a year of many firsts for the lanky lefty, as he made it to the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career at the French Open. These results propelled him into the elite top 100 for the first time in his career. Klizan finally made it to the big league with an impressive run at the US Open. Upsetting fifth seed Tsonga in the second round, he made it all the way to the round of 16, before losing to Cilic. Continuing his good form, Klizan captured his first ATP title on the indoor hard courts of St.Petersburg in September. He ended the year in the top 30.
Jerzy Janowicz
One tournament does not a season make, unless you are Jerzy Janowicz, of course. The towering Pole enjoyed the week of his life at the Paris Masters in November. On his way to the final, Janowicz had some notable scalps like Cilic, Tipsarevic and Simon, with the big one being world number 3 Andy Murray. In one of the biggest upsets of the year, the Lodz native played tennis that defied his ranking of 69. He was the first qualifier to reach an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final since Guillermo Canas in 2007. His dream run, however, was halted by Ferrer in the final. Janowicz also reached the third round at Wimbledon this year, but his remarkable performance in the French capital, is really what got people talking. The powerful Pole, who began the year at 221, will now be seeded for the Australian Open.
David Goffin
This diminutive Belgian is considered one of tennis’ brightest prospects. With only two ATP match victories, prior to 2012, Goffin broke through with a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros. In an entertaining encounter, the 21 year old gave Federer a run for his money in front of a raucous Parisian crowd. He took the first set before succumbing to the 17-time Grand Slam champion in four sets. What Goffin lacks in size and power, he makes up for in shot-making and tennis smarts. He had a number of consistent results at the ATP level and wins over higher ranked players this year. The baby-faced, blue-eyed Belgian saw his ranking go up from 174 to 46 in the world. He is definitely one to look out for in the future.
Laura Robson
Robson first showed her promise when she won the girls’ junior title at Wimbledon at the age of 14. She, along with Andy Murray, gave the British fans plenty to cheer about this summer when they won the silver medal in mixed doubles at the London Olympics. The British teenager then went on to reach the fourth round at the US Open, her best result at a Grand Slam. On her way, she had wins over Li Na and Kim Clijsters, both very accomplished players. In Guangzhou, Robson became the first British woman since Jo Durie, in 1990, to reach a WTA main-tour final. Her results this year have earned her a career high ranking of 52.
Heather Watson
It has been a breakthrough year for British tennis players. The British number one, who resides at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, enjoyed a successful 12 months. She cracked the top 50 for the first time in her career after winning her maiden tour title in Japan, becoming the first British female to win a WTA singles title since Sara Gomer in 1988. With a playing style often compared to that of Martina Hingis’s, Watson is known for her amazing footwork and great on-court intelligence.

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